Obama tries to mend rifts with Republicans

There is little to suggest that Mr Obama will back off his immigration plan

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President Barack Obama said last night that he wanted to listen to Republicans about ways to consolidate America’s economic recovery, setting a conciliatory tone as he welcomed leaders from both sides of Congress to a working lunch at the White House.

“Good ideas don’t necessarily come from just one party,” Mr Obama told reporters ahead of the meeting, a first test of whether he and Congress can work together in the wake of the Republican party’s sweeping gains in Tuesday’s mid-term election that will lead to it regaining control of both chambers.

Battles were already looming. John Boehner, the House speaker and a Republican, fired a loud shot across the President’s bow on Thursday, warning him not to move ahead with changing immigration rules to help undocumented workers by executive order as he has promised.


“He will poison the well and there will be no chance for immigration reform moving” at all if he takes any such action, Mr Boehner said in notably blunt tones. “He’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path.”

There is little to suggest that Mr Obama will back off his immigration plan, though with his departure today for a week-long trip to Asia he is unlikely to act before later this month. A new area of friction was sparked by reports that he wrote a secret letter to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in October saying they have a shared interest in tackling the Islamic State.

“It is outrageous that, while the cries of moderate Syrian forces for greater US assistance fall on deaf ears in the White House, President Obama is apparently urging Ayatollah Khamenei to join the fight against Isis,” said John McCain and Lindsey Graham.